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Karla Mari McKanders

Clinical Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University

Karla McKanders is an expert in immigration and refugee law. Her recent scholarship addresses gender and the law, civil and human rights, approaches to legislative and regulatory reforms of the U.S. immigration system and the international system for processing refugees. Professor McKanders directs the Immigration Clinic and teaches Refugee and Immigration Law. Her work has taken her throughout the U.S. and abroad teaching and researching the efficacy of legal institutions charged with processing migrants and refugees. In 2011, she received a Fulbright grant to lecture in Morocco at the University of Mohamad V. She continues to collaborate with faculty, lawyers and nonprofit organizations in the Middle East and North Africa addressing disparities in access to justice faced by immigrant and refugee populations. During the 2016–2017 academic year, she was a Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law where she directed the Civil Rights Clinic.


  • –present
    Professor of Immigration and Refugee Law and Immigration Clinic Director, Vanderbilt University


  • 2003 
    Duke University School of Law, J.D.
  • 2000 
    Spelman College, B.A.